Now that winter is over, you’re probably itching to hit the open road on an adventure filled with sunshine and fresh air. Before you join the 30 million nationwide RV enthusiasts traveling alongside you. You’ll want to make sure your car is in good shape to ensure safe traveling. Here are 11 spring car maintenance tips for every new vehicle owner.
Ensure Your Tires Are Properly Inflated
It’s a good idea to check your tire pressure between winter and spring because temperature fluctuations can cause fluctuations in tire pressure. Tires can gain or lose a pound per inch for every 10-degree temperature change. Overinflated tires can lead to car crashes. About 72% of these accidents cause additional property damage.
Check your tires in the morning before you start your vehicle and check to see if it matches the recommended tire pressure in your owner’s manual. While you’re checking the pressure, examine the tread depth by using the penny test. Make sure you check your spare as well. Now would be a good time to have your tires rotated.
Test Your Brakes
Icy winter conditions can give anti-lock brakes a tough workout. Road salt can corrode brake parts over time. Now that winter is over, you’ll want to check your brakes to make sure they are in good condition. If you notice that your brake pedal is feeling a bit softer or you hear any squeaking, you’ll need to get your brakes and pads replaced.
Inspect Belts And Hoses
Cold winter temperatures can damage the rubber of your belts and hoses. Look for any cracks, blistering, looseness, or leaking. If any of the belts need replacement, you may want to have the pulleys and tensioners replaced to prevent the belt from slipping. While you are inspecting the belts and hoses, check your coolant to prevent your vehicle from overheating.
Check Your Suspension And Alignment
Potholes and rocks can ruin the alignment and suspension components in your vehicle. If you notice your car pulling to one side, take your car to the mechanic and have them do a quick check under your hood. You wouldn’t want your steering to malfunction from a damaged suspension and accidentally hit one of the 500,000 reefer trailers currently in operation on the highways,
Schedule An Oil Change
It’s important that your motor stays properly lubricated to stay cool. However, your engine oil develops impurities over time which makes it ineffective in protecting your engine. Schedule an oil change or do it yourself and have the filter replaced. It will help improve your fuel consumption and engine’s performance.
Test Your Battery
Cold temperatures slow down the chemical reactions in your battery, and this forces it to work harder. Warmer spring temperatures can evaporate battery fluids and increase the possibility of corrosion. While you’re doing your car maintenance, it’s a good idea to test the battery and ensure that it’s securely mounted. Make sure all of the connections are tightened and free from corrosion. Replace the battery if it’s over five years old.
Inspect The HVAC System
Your air conditioning system has been sitting idle all winter long. It’s a good idea to inspect it to make sure it will work efficiently for the warmer temperatures ahead. Start it up and let it run for about 15 minutes to get rid of any potential strange smells. If you still notice any strange smells after this period or notice it’s not working as efficiently as it should, take to it a mechanic for an inspection. You want to make sure you have the proper vehicle air conditioning service.
Fix Your Windshield
Diving on asphalt roads can kick up rocks and other debris that can create cracks and chips on your windshield. And a golf ball-sized hailstone can cause significant damage. Windshield damage can decrease the effectiveness of your roof stability, airbags, and seatbelts. Replace your wiper blades and top off your wiper fluid.
Deep Clean The Interior
Now that you’ve made sure that your car is running smoothly, it’s time to do some spring cleaning. Clear out any debris that may be hiding under the seats and remove the floor mats. Vacuum the entire interior as well as the floor mats before putting them back in place. Don’t forget to vacuum the trunk too.
When you are done vacuuming, grab a soft cloth and spray vinyl cleaner and wipe down the steering wheel, dashboard, and door panels. Clean fabric seats with upholstery cleaner. If you have leather seats, you can use whatever the manufacturer recommends. Use an aerosol silicone spray to fix up the weather stripping on the outside of the windows, door and trunk.
Wash And Wax
During the wintertime, road salt and grime attaches itself to your vehicle’s surface and can cause corrosion if not washed off properly. Use dishwashing liquid mixed in water with a soft cloth to scrub your vehicle’s exterior. Rinse using a garden hose and don’t forget to spray down the undercarriage to get rid of as much winter grime and salt off as you can reach. If you’d rather go to the carwash, spend some extra cash for the undercarriage spray wash service. Finish by applying a high-quality wax.
Shine Up Your Lights
You may think you need glasses if you have trouble seeing while driving in the dark but it may just be your headlights need a good cleaning. Clear dirt and grime by using a mixture of baking soda and water with a soft toothbrush to polish them. Replace any lights that still remain dim. You’ll be able to truly see those trains that have been traveling the tracks for more than 200 years before they head your way down the tracks.
Just like you would freshen up your house to shake off the winter blues, your car needs the same treatment in order to function properly. You’ll save money on fuel costs and avoid a potential breakdown when the weather starts heating up. If you follow all these tips, your vehicle will be completely ready to hit the road in top condition for your next adventure.